The Congress of Deputies has approved the housing law, which is now going through the Senate. More than a year has passed since the text came out of Moncloa and now the Lower House gives its approval with votes in favor of the coalition government formations, ERC, EH Bildu or Más País. Against, the right-wing formations, such as PP, Vox, Cs, Junts, PDeCat and PNV.
Keys to the housing law: a 3% ceiling on rent in 2024 and a future price index that will limit increases
The law has been approved with 176 votes in favor; 167, against and one abstention, in a vote attended by the Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez; and the Second Vice President and Minister of Labor and Social Economy, Yolanda Díaz. The abstention corresponds to the deputy of BNG, Néstor Rego.
The law – the keys to which can be found in this information – is the first in the history of this democracy that recognizes housing as a right.
His debate in the plenary session of the Lower House has drawn a clear division between the political sensitivities of the chamber. For example, the law is “nonsense”, according to the representative of the Canary Islands Coalition, Ana Oramas; or an “aberration”, according to Carlos García Adanero, from UPN. On the other hand, for parliamentary groups like the BNG or the CUP, it could have gone further.
The law of the jungle and the strongest
The law has been defended by two ministers, Ione Belarra, responsible for Social Rights and the 2030 Agenda; and Raquel Sánchez, from Transport, Mobility and the Urban Agenda.
Ione Belarra has stressed that “houses are for living and not for speculating” and has thanked the work of associations and activists in favor of the right to housing. “Rent is a pump to extract resources from the precarious classes to the rentiers” and for this reason “it was essential to include the regulation, that is why it took us three years” to approve this text. Also, that in recent decades housing has been configured as “a business built on the consensus of the ball.” The premise that “the floors will not go down”, which led to a “bubble that burst on the shoulders of thousands of compatriots” with empty homes that are going to be made available through Sareb. Today the bank, the vultures, the investment funds lose and the people win, those who have a rent or a mortgage, but today nothing ends“Belarra has summarized.
When it comes into force, “housing, along with education, health, pensions and work” will become “the fifth pillar of the welfare state”, highlighted Raquél Sánchez, who has come out in defense of the “solidity” of the text ” that it does not go against anyone and that it protects both landlords and tenants”. “An advanced democracy must strive to offer decent housing to all citizens,” he pointed out because “unemployment and not having housing lead to poverty.” “It seems that all these measures surprise or annoy those who have defended another type of model, we trust that the advances in rights are irreversible”, he concluded.
Criticism because if you fall you cut or invade competitions
“The right-wing knows that there is not a single market that is not regulated,” said the deputy of Más País, Íñigo Errejón, who in the case of housing is regulated in favor of “banks, speculators and vulture funds.” He has also pointed out that today in Congress is not the only vote on the housing law, but that there will be another on May 28 in the municipal and regional elections, who are the ones who have the powers.
The deputy of EH Bildu, Oskar Matute, assumes that the law “is a short step for what we would like”, but it is “the moment to go from words to deeds”. He has stressed that housing is an “ideological problem” among those who understand it as a right or as a market good. Matute has delved into the fact that the law “intervenes and regulates” with “effective control, annual ceilings, intervention on large holders and the promotion of social rent.”
Instead, the PP has charged against the new legislation. “It does not convince anyone and it is a bargaining chip, because it gives ERC and EH Bildu prominence,” said Ana María Zurita. In her opinion, “it does not respond to the problems of vulnerable or young people.” In fact, Zurita has ridiculed the scope of this legislation by comparing it to the “Trujillo slippers”, the measure launched by the former housing minister, Maria Antonia Trujillo, and has assured that “it is impossible” for her two daughters “to be able to emancipate”, by market prices. “This law is not necessary, what is necessary is to build”, she has summarized.
The deputy of the PNV, Íñigo Barandiarán, has stressed in his speech in plenary, that the new regulation “interferes with the capacities” of the autonomous communities, because it “exceeds and invades powers” and sees that it is a “demonstration of incoherence” of those who declare independence.
Pilar Vallugera, from ERC, has estimated that the negotiation of this law has taken more than 400 days, which has been difficult but “shows the way”. “Do we want to intervene in the rental income market or are we going to stay in non-intervention with the excuse of competitions?” She asked. “Neither PdeCat nor Junts are about to stop the evictions.” She has also responded to criticism of the “interventionism” of the text. “We only contain the rents, not that they rent 50% cheaper.” In the case of large holders, linking it to “an index”; and, the small ones, “to a previous contract”. Are they losing money now? What story are they selling?
Around with the squatting
Vox and Cs have emphasized that the new regulation will hit the supply of rental housing and that it favors squatting.
“This law generates sensations”, Inés Arrimadas de Cs has assured, because, she understands, it gives “more peace of mind to the squatters and more restlessness to the owners”. Iván Espinosa de los Monteros, spokesman for Vox, has stated that the housing stock is going to be reduced “it is already happening in Spain”. This law “blesses” squatting and turns Spain into a “paradise for squatters.”
The PP has also brought up this issue, according to its deputy Ana María Zurita, the text agreed upon by the progressive formations is an “armed robbery.” “They know, it only favors the squatters.”
Oskar Matute, on the other hand, has emphasized that “squatting has dropped in 2022. EH Bildu does not say it, the CGPJ says it. What has increased are the evictions of vulnerable people.” For her part, Pilar Vallugera, from ERC, asked “What do they call squatters?” To those who have not been able to pay some mortgage receipts, when they have been paying for 30 years. They are not squatters, they are neighbors who are having a bad time.”
After the approval of the law, the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, has given “thanks to the different parliamentary groups with which we have achieved one of the main milestones of the legislature and of democracy”, reports Alberto Ortiz. “We are changing the paradigm, leaving behind the land law of 98 and the neoliberal model that brought speculation and a lot of social pain with the bursting of the real estate bubble,” said the head of the Executive, who has taken the opportunity to reproach the Popular Party for its opposition to this law and his willingness, as he has stated, to “boycott” the law in the territories where he governs. “It is an opposition adrift,” he criticized.